While Ferrari and Mercedes have dominated the first four races of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship, Red Bull have been relegated to picking up the crumbs as, at this stage of season, their drivers do not have the ammo to fight at the sharp end of proceedings.
After finishing a distant fifth at the recent Russian Grand Prix, Verstappen said during an interview on Ziggo Sport, “We are sort of stuck in no man’s land. At the moment, we’re unable to follow the top two.”
“I was able to drive my own race [in Russia]. You’re trying to be as consistent as possible and to feel how good the car. The balance is pretty good,” said the teenager.
The Renault power unit is obviously lagging behind the pace setters. In the past Red Bull were able to make up the deficit with their chassis, but this year the car has not done them any favours.
It is well known that Adrian Newey has focused his energy on the Aston Martin Valkyrie project, but hurt by the unexceptional RB13 it is reported that the design guru is now flat-out at work on the upgrades for Barcelona.
Verstappen has been aware of the situation for some time, “I knew this was the situation at the start of the season. You have to get on with it. We’ll have to keep working hard to make it work.”
Of his plight the teenager said, “You’re a dreamer if you think anything else than fifth was possible. This is at this moment the maximum we can achieve if no one in front of us makes a mistake.”
The good news for Verstappen is the big chassis upgrades due in Barcelona, “I am looking forward to that. It is a great track to drive on and I am curious to see how things will work out.”
“Hopefully we can close the gap and will be able to fight for the lead. We are of course making progress with the car, but so are others. We need to keep working hard, because the gap is still very big,” he added.